Q opens in triumph, Fringe overshadows Festival, Outfit Rise, Rugby, Rugby, Rugby, and the Death of the Theatre. [by James Wenley]
Attending the recent Hackman Theatre awards, Auckland Theatre circa 2011 would appear to be in rude health. Rude being the word, hosts Nic Sampson and Joseph Moore proudly observing it was a record year of nudity on stage, from the very brave Mr. Sam Seddon in The Only Child to the Dame bosoms of the Calendar Girls. It was certainly year that didn’t leave much to the imagination, containing everything from dildos to knitted phalluses, bath tubs to swimming pools.
The Hackmans were a big communal pat on the back for the industry, a brash and bold celebration of a huge year in theatre. As Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Robyn Malcom closed the awards night performing in a Thomas Sainsbury play that he had written under duress that very night, there was a sense that anything and everything was possible.
As a critic moving from Craccum to my own Theatre Scenes blog this year, I’ve welcomed the end-of-year theatre break. Throughout the year, I could often be heard to exclaim: ‘Auckland Theatre: There is too much of you!’. It’s been exhausting going to opening to opening night after night. And immensely rewarding. While containing some duds for sure, my impression of the year is one of great strength and eclectic activity. There was no shortage of things to write about at least. There was always something on. Between fellow blogger Sharu Delilkan and me, we reviewed or previewed 96 different shows, and even that barely scratched the surface.
Time to Celebrate! [by James Wenley]
There’s a lot of good performance on at the moment. Too much. How can one get to it all? Auckland theatre – you need an ‘on demand’ service. Anything Goes is at the Civic, I haven’t yet managed to get to any of the Tempo Dance Festival at Q, there’s a myriad of performances down at the waterfront, and The Basement Fest is now in full swing.
That I have managed to get to, and am quite proud to say I’ve seen most of what’s on offer this week. With a new show playing almost every half-hour from 7pm – 10:30pm each night, that’s no small feat. You definitely can’t do all of the Fest in one night.
Adventurous audiences have no excuses – there’s plenty more than the Rugby on, go and experience it!
This is a great state to be in as Theatre Scenes celebrates its own milestone – this entry is the website’s 100th blog post! We’ve had great fun checking out the best (and worst) that Auckland theatre has had to offer so far this year, and hope in some small way we’ve added to the conversation.
So to celebrate, here’s a run-down of the current Basement Fest shows. Go see one, two or even all five! I dare you.
Triple Word Score [by Sharu Delilkan]
The concept of the alternate ending has always worked a treat.
Many movies, especially the infamous Sliding Doors, not only had an alternate ending but an alternate history as well.
It’s therefore not surprising that The Outfit Theatre Company’s latest romp Love After Dark is a winning combination right from the get-go – three directors, three plays and three writers. That’s nine points of view in one show – what more can you ask for?
Walking into the grungy upstairs space of The Basement Studio seems rather ordinary until we get to the doorway where it is unclear where the set ends and the audience’s seating begins. The cast and set surrounding the door with lively chatter add to the eager anticipation of opening night.
As I get settled in my seat, I can’t help but think ‘If only we could rewrite the ending to what life dishes out at us – wouldn’t the world be a happier place?”
Jack the Ripper finally comes to Auckland, and he’s got a knife… [by James Wenley]
When I met Anders Falstie-Jensen during his lunch break from rehearsals at the Basement, he was beaming and full of enthusiasm for his latest project. The play he is directing, Yours Truly sounds like a ripper. Jack the Ripper to be precise. Written by Albert Belz, the play promises to be one of the scariest and darkest thrillers from a New Zealand playwright.
But other than the subject matter, there is something else for Anders to be excited about – the play marks a significant milestone for Anders and his theatre company The Rebel Alliance (whose Fringe offering Standstill I really enjoyed). For the first time, thanks to a grant from Creative New Zealand, Anders can go to paid full time work, 9-5, as a theatre director…
Yours Truly has been a long time coming to the Auckland stage. It debuted at BATS Wellington in 2006 and won Best New Zealand Play at the Chapman Tripp awards, but save for a production in Whangarei it all but disappeared. Playmarket had first alerted Producer/Director Anders Faltsie-Jensen to the play in 2008, but due to busyness it lay unread on his desk for three months. “When I finally got around to reading it – as soon as I finished it”, Anders says, “I biked down to the office and said I really want to do this show.” Unfortunately, Anders was told that the rights were no longer available.
Surely kicking himself for not reading it sooner, Anders was presented with another opportunity when the rights went back up, but with a catch. A guy called Sam was also interested in the play...